In this version of Weekly Focus APAC: Singapore market opens its doors to the maritime community; Alipay to lead QR payments on EU mobile phone portfolios; Chinese consume more online media offline; Alibaba goes rural for June 18 sales festival. The JD.com membership program goes global with 15K hotels.
The Singapore market opens up to the maritime community
MarinOnline, based in Singapore, has unveiled a marine e-commerce market with more than 10,000 product listings and 4,000 service providers offering more than 10 offshore services.
These included fuel supply, port agency, ship supply, crew and ship charter, according to the market operator, who added that the site aims to reduce operating costs and increase transparency in the industry.
"Ship owners form the core of the shipping industry and are the source of business for all marine suppliers," said Stephen Chi, "but recent global economic uncertainties impose a huge burden on shipowners to maintain their operations and this vicious cycle continues downstream Their suppliers.
"Marine Online has spent three years developing eMarineOnline.com, with significant ambitions to reduce operational costs, improve efficiency, enhance transparency in the marine ecosystem, and ultimately, to bring sustainable profitability back to the industry," Chi said.
He added that the online market was available online and through its mobile application on Google Android and Apple iOS, enabling vendors around the world to list their products and services.
To meet the "highly specialized" needs of the marine industry, Marin Online said its market was designed around two main components: an RFQ platform supported by artificial intelligence and an online payment system developed by Fintech, M-DAQ.
The RFQ tool, supported by Amnesty International, aims to help shipowners find the right suppliers more quickly through product comparisons and quotations, overcoming potential obstacles caused by linguistic and cultural differences.
MarinOnline said that transactions and valuation data could also be seen in the on-line vendor credit system, which would be crucial because transactions in the maritime industry typically included hundreds and thousands of dollars.
In addition, the M-DAQ online payment system will facilitate guaranteed foreign exchange rates and provide a guarantee service.
"Every Marin Online supplier has an equal opportunity to move their business to the next level on the platform by reaching potential customers and providing excellent services to their customers," said Tiger Cay, vice president of Marine Online. We will be able to develop a robust database system, and benefit from data science to support the overall financing system helps business development, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises in the industry. "
Alipay to lead QR payments on EU mobile phone portfolios
Alipay has concluded a mobile payment business of Alibaba agreement with six mobile phone portfolios in Europe to jointly promote QR code-based transactions between travelers in the region and China.
The Chinese vendor will work with Bluecode, ePassi, Momo Pocket, Pagaqui, Pivo and Vipps to push the adoption of the QR code, as partners are looking to combine the mobile payment market in Europe.
Partners will adopt a compliant QR code format provided by Alipay, while ePassi and Bluecode will provide technical services to simplify the integration process.
Upon publication, the six digital portfolios will support QR payments paid through their mobile applications to local merchants in 10 European countries. Alipay users will also be able to make payments using Alibaba's digital portfolio in the same European merchants.
EPassi based in Helsinki, based in Oslo, has already begun to deploy a QR code payment system across several Nordic countries, while Spanish Momo, Pagaqui and Bluecode in Austria will start supporting QR code payments in their local markets later this year.
Together, the six European mobile phone portfolios have a user base of more than 5 million and a business community of about 190,000 in the region.
Chinese consume more online media
Chinese consumers will spend more time on digital media this year, with 3 hours and 54 minutes a day online, up 12 minutes from 2018.
By comparison, they are expected to spend two hours and 44 minutes on traditional media in 2019, according to eMarketer. Market consumption has outpaced the number of traditional platforms in China since 2016. The gap is expected to widen over the next few years, market researcher said.
EMarketer said the growth was largely driven by increased government efforts to develop communications infrastructure in cities and rural areas of the country, adding that this has led to its adoption on the Internet in previously underdeveloped areas.
"Currently, China's lower-level cities and rural areas represent the biggest untapped opportunity for brands and marketers," said Cheung Man-Chung, research analyst for the company. [the government’s focus on] Building telecom infrastructure is only the beginning. Further education and consumer habits will help to realize the full potential of the Internet in these regions of the country. "
EMarketer predicts that by 2021, consumption of traditional television and print media will decrease, with radio time lagging. Time spent on digital media, especially on smartphones, will continue to grow double digit by 2020.
With no 31.9% of Chinese consumers online, eMarketer pointed out that there is still room for growth in terms of online consumption.
Papa goes rural for the June 18 sales festival
Taobao and Tamal focus on consumers outside major cities in China for the upcoming annual shopping festival to be held on June 18, according to Ali Baba, which manages e-commerce markets.
This year's sales event is designed to assist more than 200,000 brands and retailers to take advantage of small cities and rural areas across the country, and will include the launch of 1.5 million products and feature daily offerings for Alibaba. These efforts were part of an initiative to enable factories in China to sell directly to consumers, and benefit from the insights of Baba data and technical support.
Alibaba said the aim was to provide easier access to less developed markets to more affordable goods, as well as provide traders tools and insights to better engage consumers and meet customer demands.
"In addition to rising discretionary spending, consumers in the less developed regions of China have become more sophisticated shoppers looking for lifestyle upgrades," said Jiang Fan, president of Taobao and Tamal.
According to the latest annual results of Alibaba, 70% of the 654 million active consumers a year are in China's less developed cities. In addition, more than half of Tmall's luxury pavilion sales – featuring luxury brands and premium brands – are created from customers outside the first and second cities.
The JD.com membership program becomes global with 15,000 hotels
JD.com, JD Plus membership customers can now enjoy more privileges at 15,000 hotels around the world as part of the annual e-commerce sales event on June 18.
These members will be able to receive discounts, access to the lounge and additional loyalty points, among other benefits, in 19 international hotel brands including InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, AccorHotels and The Ascott.
This is the first time JD Plus members can enjoy privileges outside of China.